In most parenting agreements, mom always has the children with her on Mother’s Day and dad always has the children with him on Father’s Day. However, it is never as simple as it sounds. Even intact families struggle with these holidays as a parent may inevitably end up disappointed, perhaps because their children did not appropriately recognize them, or maybe because their spouse did not acknowledge the significance of the day.
In divorced families, particularly when children are young, this can sometimes become a confusing arrangement. Although it may seem easiest for all when Mother’s Day falls on a mom’s regularly scheduled weekend, in reality, are the children actually going to go out and buy their mom a gift, arrange a nice brunch or make a restaurant reservation? And on those years when Mother’s Day does not fall on mom’s regularly scheduled weekend, just as they were settling into the weekend routine with dad, the children are then required to leave to spend time with mom for Mother’s Day. Is dad happy about this? Is he sending the children with a gift and ideas for how to help make this a great day for mom?
In the best of all divorcing families, each parent recognizes the benefits in helping their children honor the other parent on this special day in the best way possible. When the weekend is already mom’s weekend, dad plans ahead and on his time helps the children find a thoughtful gift for mom, possibly just because it’s the right thing to do, and possibly in hopes of reciprocal treatment for himself on the following Father’s Day. When the weekend is dad’s weekend and the children have to leave in the middle, dad not only encourages them to enjoy their time with mom, but he goes so far as to ask mom what he can do to be helpful. All of these scenarios are possible in the case of the amicable divorce. Unfortunately, not all divorcing parents are able to treat each other kindly. In those instances, the parent whose day it is should use their best efforts to enjoy their time with the children and put aside any unrealistic expectations.
Alternatively, maybe we can imagine a future scenario whereby the parents switch holidays. Mom would have the kids on Father’s Day and dad would have the kids on Mother’s Day. Each parent would then have their “day” to themselves and make time for whatever they enjoy, be it a spa appointment, golf game, or just down time to read a book. Since that is unlikely to happen, as we approach this Mother’s Day weekend, try to put your own feelings aside and allow your children to enjoy their time with the other parent.
Regardless of whether your family falls in the best, worst or somewhere in between category, the good news is that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall relatively close in time and each parent has the opportunity to spend time with the children for their respective holiday celebrations, however they may turn out. In all events, enjoy your extra time with your children, which this weekend is for mothers.